Locals collect dead fishes (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has assigned respective tasks to ministries and localities in the wake of the serious and unusual mass fish deaths that happened in the central coastal region in early April. 

The incident was discovered in Ky Anh township, Ha Tinh province on April 6 and then spread to Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue. 

During a working session with affected localities on May 1, the PM affirmed that the maritime environment, especially the waters up to 20 nautical miles, is safe now, according to a notice recently released by the Government Office. 

The Minister of Science and Technology was asked to coordinate with the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and relevant ministries and agencies to reach an objective, scientific, independent conclusion on the causes of the incident, based on which, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) will report to the PM to impose strict punishments on any violating individuals or organisations. 

The MoNRE and affected local authorities will re-check all waste-discharging manufacturing bases as well as strengthen inspection of coastal industrial production facilities. 

The MonRE and Ha Tinh authorities must report on the licensing of Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh steel company and the supervision of its waste discharge system. 

In order to control Formosa’s discharge, he suggested immediately placing an automatic monitoring station in the company that connects with a similar one launched by the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment. 

The Ministry of Public Security will continue investigating cases of environment violation in the central region while strictly dealing with cases that took advantage of the incident to disturb social safety and order. 

The ministries of Health, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Natural Resources and Environment were requested to publicise a list of safe fishing grounds on the mass media. 

Affected fishermen will be entitled to debt waiver, rescheduling or reduction as well as new loans at preferential rates. 

The government leaders also agreed with proposals to offer 22.5 kg of rice to each affected household, 5 million VND to each fishing vessel, and low-cost loans to fishery households.-VNA